The Nationals are adding one of the best defensive shortstops on the international market to their Minor League system.
According to sources, the club has agreed to a deal with shortstop Armando Cruz, No. 5 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 International Prospects List, for $3.9 million. Cruz is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The Nationals have not confirmed the deal.
Known as a plus defender with an extraordinary combination of footwork and hands, Cruz shows plus range with an emerging arm that projects to be well above average in the future. At the plate, the right-handed hitter shows good bat speed and a slight upstroke with his swing. He consistently barrels up the ball and is proficient at spraying line drives across the outfield.
According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft have the most money to spend on international prospects, with a pool of $6,431,000. Clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive the second most at $5,889,600.
The Nationals have bonus pools of $5,348,100.
Unlike in previous years, teams are not allowed to trade any of their international pool money. Signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years of age and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.